[MUD-Dev] Re: Introduction

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Dec 8 23:55:08 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On 10:20 PM 12/8/98 +0000, I personally witnessed Mik Clarke jumping up to
>If you're looking for insiration, I've got a
>single-adventurer program engine written in Java.  

I'm not a big fan of Java, actually. I think its liabilities outweigh its
benefits right now; I've put together a basic competency level in it all
the same, however, since I don't want to make the same mistake I did with
Perl and Visual Basic: ignore it, and then eventually watch it become the
industry standard and have to learn it anyway. 

I already have a large advantage, in any case, since I actually do have a
complete and (theoretically) working game. Most of what I'm doing right now
is reading a meg and a half of C source which has been eaten away by
bit-rot for nearly five years. (You can't tell me source code doesn't go
bad. I know better.) Some of what the program does is terribly naive (the
handling of specialty devices: device1(), device2(), device3(),
device4()...), but some of it is very forward-thinking; it has an indexed
string table, for example, which was pretty radical for the time. I wish it
had readable constants for identifiers, though -- comm_write(3146,1284) is
not exactly helpful when trying to figure out what a function does. No
comments to speak of; comment tags are normally used to block out code that
evidently doesn't work or isn't finished. <shudder> 

If you have a choice, don't ever take on a project that's been moldering in
the corner for five years. The only saving grace to this is that I *knew* I
would have to start from scratch anyway, so I'm not in a state of shock at
how unreadable the code is or how much work has to be done to get it
operable again. In addition, it used a third-party comm library which is no
longer available and therefore needs to be replaced by homegrown routines
-- which means it won't compile just yet, but it's mainly because I haven't
finished going through and replacing serial communications routines with
local functions. 

>Yeah, pretty but shallow.  Unfortunately when it comes to amatures (like
>most mudders), the result tends to be ugly and shallow (but with

I remember when I first started looking to get back into a tabletop gaming
group a couple years ago. I came across a local hobby shop that offered
gaming, and I went in and looked around to see a bunch of people playing
Warhammer (which I don't like). There was one group playing AD&D, so I sort
of hung around nearby listening. 

The gist of the adventure seemed to be that the characters were wandering
up and down the beach while being repeatedly crapped on by seagulls, which
would anger the players greatly and inspire them to chase after the birds
and try to chop them up with axes. As I listened to the group, they
reminded me more and more of Beavis and Butt-head. There was no perceptible
goal to the adventure; if there had ever been one, it had either been
accomplished already or discarded as too difficult. The players seemed to
find it much more amusing to chase seagulls, and delighted greatly in the
detailed description of where the crap hit and what its consistency and
color were and exactly how it splattered. The DM was very good at these
descriptions, in all fairness, and had apparently had a lot of practice.

This, in turn, reminded me of why I stopped playing AD&D. ;)

You might note that several MUDs have a beach, along which you may wander
aimlessly while seagulls fly overhead. While they don't crap on you, to my
recollection, I'm quite sure someone is working on it.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
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